Recode Daily: Democrats may have won the Pennsylvania race; Stephen Hawking R.I.P.
Plus, Amazon is still No. 1 in corporate brand reputation, the black market for Spotify playlists and Instagram followers, and this startup will back up your brain — but it has to kill you first.
Democrat Conor Lamb looks like he’s pulled off a stunning defeat of Republican Rick Saccone in a closely watched Pennsylvania Congressional race. The margin is very close, but Lamb declared victory early this morning; now NBC News is calling the race for him as well. Conventional political wisdom is that the result, in a traditionally Republican district, is a referendum on Donald Trump. [NBC News]
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Trump dumped Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via Twitter, then called Tillerson more than three hours later. Here’s a look at Tillerson’s rise and fall, as viewed through Trump tweets. Tillerson is replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Pompeo’s spot will go to Gina Haspel, deputy director of the CIA, who will become the first woman to head the spy agency. [The New York Times]
Google is banning all cryptocurrency ads. The new policy goes into effect in June and follows Facebook, which instituted its own crypto ad ban in January. [Thuy Ong / The Verge]
YouTube will use Wikipedia to fact-check conspiracy videos. The world’s biggest video site, which has struggled to deal with extremist and distasteful content, will add links below videos that refer to conspiracies — like the idea that the moon landing was faked. [BuzzFeed]
Stephen Hawking died at age 76. The Cambridge University physicist, who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, was the world’s best-known scientist since Albert Einstein. [New York Times]
Elon Musk has hired writers from The Onion to work on a mystery project. No joke. [Maxwell Tani / The Daily Beast]
Turns out there’s a booming black market for Spotify playlists: They’re a defining feature of the streaming service, and the biggest playlists can essentially manufacture hits. [Austin Powell / The Daily Dot]
Instagram followers are for sale, too: Marketers are flocking to businesses that specialize in detecting large numbers of bots and fake accounts that follow popular Instagram personalities. [Sapna Maheshwari / The New York Times]
Apple will hold its annual developer conference, WWDC, June 4-8 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose; the company is expected to unveil iOS 12, macOS 10.14, watchOS 5 and tvOS 12. [Zac Hall / 9to5Mac]
Here’s what you need to know about today’s nationwide school walkout, which takes place one month after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Elementary, middle, and high schools and some colleges are participating in the event, with more than 2,500 walkouts planned. At 10 am local time, students will walk out of class in an effort to push lawmakers to pass gun reform, and to honor victims killed by firearms. [Jen Kirby / Vox]
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